‘Culture of Violence’: 17 homicides in Wilmington so far this year


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One man shot and killed, a young woman shot and left on life support, and then two men force their way into a home shooting one of the people inside. It was a violent weekend in Wilmington.

Wilmington Police Deputy Chief Mitch Cunningham said 17 people have been murdered in the Port City so far in 2017.

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“Unfortunately there is a certain group of people who use guns to solve disputes,” Cunningham said.

He said it’s a culture of violence.

“It starts when folks are very young and they see other people using guns and it’s just a culture that feeds upon itself,” he said.

Cunningham says while some of these incidents are random acts of violence, others are planned over time.

“Some of these disputes can be based on very immediate spontaneous interaction, sometimes people will engage in retribution for an incident that happened a year, two years ago,” he said.

While gang violence and drug related crimes are a big problem, Cunningham says that’s just one piece of an even bigger issue.

“What we’re seeing actually is a greater proportion of homicides that are really domestic in nature,” he said.

But he adds, getting guns off the streets is no simple task.

“There’s lots and lots of guns in our community and so it’s not difficult if someone wants to use a gun to settle a dispute to find one,” he said.

Cunningham says compared to a couple of years ago, people are now coming forward and reporting more crime when it happens.

So far, police say there have been no arrests in any of the weekend shootings.